No matter what time I finally get to sleep at night, I find that I can’t sleep past five o’clock in the morning. That’s not a bad thing because Ethne is awake longer than I am at night and she sleeps in. So all the things I plan on doing when she goes to bed at night are here waiting for me in the early hours of the day.
Its been just four days without Brian, but its been 5,400 minutes and that feels like a more appropriate way to mark the time. Firstly, because it feels so much longer than just days, and secondly, because we really are in minute to minute survival mode.
Don’t let those smiles fool you! We were seconds away from a meltdown in this picture and I didn’t even know it. Ethne is remarkably strong, but, like all of us, she is struggling. Its been just the two of us the last couple of days. Yesterday, she asked to go to the museum so we met Adrianne and Ivy at the Playhouse and then had a mom and daughter lunch date. Ethne got upset because she decided after her macaroni and cheese came that she really wanted chicken strips, and I also ruined her yogurt by taking a bite of it so she had NOTHING she could eat. She got up from the table and threw her crayon and then kicked a window. That’s not Ethne, that’s the extreme amount of stress that her little mind and body have been under. But as people were looking at me, I just wished I had a shirt that said, “Newly Minted Widow and Single Mom in Training.” I did manage to explain to our waitress that our person died and so we needed to make a quick exit. She didn’t let me pay for our lunch. Thank you, Jamie Jo at One World. You were one of my angels on Earth today.
In spite of the meltdowns, its been nice to spend one on one time with Ethne. I think we both need it. I still have a ten pound weight restriction so I’m not supposed to lift Elliot. Ashley is keeping him for me like she has so many nights. I miss him, but I can’t afford to injure myself during this recovery.
Which reminds me, I have cancer too! I keep forgetting about that. Like literally completely forgetting. I really am remarkably at peace with the whole situation. I have a follow up next week and I will have a better idea of the plan going forward. I’m also starting to view my anxiety in a different way. I think its a spiritual gift. Stay with me! I know anxiety is uncomfortable and terrible and that for many, many people its a truly debilitating issue that has to be treated in order for them to function, but I think mine is different. The other day a friend told me, “your anxiety saved your life!” And it was at that point that it occurred to me that as horrible and scary as the past four weeks have been in regard to my own health, I haven’t been anxious about it. My nagging feeling that something wasn’t right with me, the literal thought that “oh my gosh, what if I have cancer too?” that filled me with that stifling, persistent, choking angst was my saving grace. It allowed me to push outside of my comfort zone and fiercely advocate for myself. It got me help and answers.
I am beginning to think on other times of deep anxiety in my life. I am trying to look back and learn what I may have missed. What those feelings were trying to teach me. This is all new because formerly I believed that I was broken, that I had some chemical imbalance that wouldn’t let my mind rest. But as I am continually humbled by my trials, I am learning to be gentler on myself. And I think everyone should be. Life can be really hard sometimes. Its supposed to be. I believe we chose to come here, to this life, to learn. And whether you believe your teacher is God, or the universe, or your own intuition, just give yourself a break and some grace. We are all so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for.